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What is accident reporting? 

Employers are legally required to record specific work-related incidents internally and report them to a regulated authority. These are referred to as ‘reportable incidents’. These requirements are governed by RIDDOR. The authority that regulates accident reporting is the Health and Safety Executive (HSE)

What does RIDDOR stand for?

RIDDOR is The Reporting of Incidents, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013. These Regulations set out the conditions surrounding reportable incidents and allow authorities such as HSE, the police, and councils to identify how risks arise and decide how to investigate them.

It should be noted that not all incidents that are reportable to HSE occur solely at the workplace, they only need to be work-related. This would include activities performed in the course of someone’s work or business which are carried out at home.

Reportable incidents include:

  • work-related deaths

  • specified serious work-related injuries

  • cases of work-related diseases

  • specific dangerous situations

  • gas-related incidents

This guide covers each type of incident in more depth.

RIDDOR reportable injuries

Not all work-related injuries need to be reported and recorded under RIDDOR. RIDDOR mainly covers major injuries, which include:

Death

Though generally quite rare, work-related deaths can happen. In 2022/23, HSE fatality figures recorded 135 work-related deaths in Great Britain. 

If any person, whether they have ‘worker’ employment status or not, dies from an injury suffered in a work-related incident, this must be reported to HSE. This does not apply if a self-employed person dies on premises which only they own or occupy.

Specified injuries to workers

If a worker suffers any of the following injuries, RIDDOR requires that the incident must be reported to HSE:

  • fractures (not including thumbs, fingers, and/or toes)

  • amputations of fingers, hands, arms, toes, feet, and/or legs

  • injuries that could lead to permanent blindness or reduction to sight (including serious burns to the eyes)

  • crushing injuries that damage the brain or internal organs within the torso (ie the chest and abdomen)

  • scalpings (ie removal of the skin from the head) that require hospitalisation

  • any burns or scalding caused by heat, chemicals, or radiation, which: 

    • cover over 10% of the body, and/or

    • significantly damage the eyes, any vital organs (eg the heart, brain, kidney, liver, or lungs), or the respiratory system (ie anatomy used for breathing)

  • unconsciousness (ie passing out) due to a head injuries or being deprived of oxygen

  • any other injuries that occur due to working in a confined space that:

    • lead to hypothermia or any heat-related illness 

    • require admittance to hospital for over 24 hours, or 

    • require resuscitation (ie reviving someone from cardiac or respiratory arrest)

Incapacitation to workers

Workers may end up unable to work or complete their normal work duties for a prolonged period of time. Depending on the amount of time, employers will need to record the incident and potentially report it.

There are 2 time frames for employers to consider. Where the worker has been prevented from working for:

  • over 3 consecutive days, employers must keep a record of the incident 

  • over 7 consecutive days, employers must keep a record of the incident and report it to HSE within 15 days of the incident occurring

Where the injury only appears some time after the incident occurs (ie not immediately after), the 7-day period before reporting is required starts from when the injury first prevents the worker from working. The incident must still be reported.

The 7-day period does not include the day of the incident, but will be inclusive of rest days and weekends.

Non-fatal accidents to non-workers

Incidents that affect non-workers (eg members of the public, customers, volunteers, and independent contractors) must be reported to HSE if:

  • the activity that caused the incident was work-related

  • the incident caused an injury to someone who is a non-worker, and

  • the injured person was taken directly to hospital for treatment. ‘Treatment’:

    • includes, for example, applying dressings, stitches, a plaster cast or having surgery

    • does not include diagnostic tests (eg x-rays or doctor’s examinations) or where someone is taken to hospital as a precaution without an apparent injury

Occupational diseases

Occupational diseases are conditions that are known to be caused by certain work-related activities and circumstances. Once a worker has been given a confirmed diagnosis, RIDDOR requires employers (and self-employed workers) to report cases of:

  • chronic cramp of the hand and forearm - for workers who are exposed to prolonged repetitive hand, finger or arm movements

  • carpal tunnel syndrome and hand-arm vibration syndrome - for workers who regularly use percussive or vibrating power tools and processes

  • tendonitis (ie inflammation of the tendon) and tenosynovitis (ie inflammation of the sheath around the tendon) - for workers whose activities are frequently physically demanding and repetitive

  • dermatitis - for workers who have been significantly exposed to known skin irritants or sensitisers in work-related activities or environments

  • asthma - for workers who have been significantly exposed to known respiratory sensitisers in work-related activities or environments

Biological occurrences

Workers can develop other serious diseases, such as occupational cancers, due to hazards in work-related activities or environments as well. These hazards can include carcinogens, mutagens, and biological agents

RIDDOR requires that occupational exposure to biological agents and cases of cancer caused by certain occupational exposures are reported. This applies to employers and self-employed workers

Carcinogens and mutagens

Carcinogens are any substances that can cause cancer and mutagens are any substances that can induce a mutation of the genes (ie cancer). These substances could be in any form, including solids, liquids, gases, mixtures, vapours, dust, or ionising radiation.

Employers must report cases of cancer where it can be established that the person who has been diagnosed has been exposed to work-related hazards that have previously been found to cause the type of cancer diagnosed (ie a causal link). For example, an employer would have to report where a person who is regularly exposed to asbestos at work develops mesothelioma or lung cancer. 

Employers are only required to report when the person’s work environment or activities significantly increase the risk of cancer materialising. A medical practitioner can evaluate the impact of occupational influences in relation to the cancer upon diagnosis.

Biological agents

Biological agents are microorganisms; human parasites that reside in the gut, heart, lungs, or blood vessels; or cell cultures, that can cause:

  • infection 

  • allergy 

  • toxicity, or 

  • any other serious adverse reaction within the body

Unlike carcinogens and mutations where a causal link needs to be established for a reportable incident to arise, an employer must report cases where a biological agent has likely caused the disease or adverse health condition due to exposure at work. A doctor can indicate the significance of occupational influences when diagnosing the issue.

Work-related exposures might include: 

  • identifiable incidents, such as accidents. For example:

    • contaminated needles breaching the skin

    • animal attacks and bites

    • situations where substance containers have been obviously broken

  • unidentifiable incidents, where the presence of a substance might be unknown to workers. For example:

    • workers being exposed to legionella bacteria in the water due to routine maintenance or a hot water service system

    • microorganism contamination spreading through the ventilation system

Dangerous occurrences

Dangerous occurrences are another type of incident that should be reported under RIDDOR. A dangerous occurrence is a work-related incident that could risk harm to others. As this could cover a vast range of incidents, RIDDOR specifies which ones must be reported.

For all workplaces, these incidents include:

  • the collapse or failure of any lifting equipment, or failure of the load-bearing function

  • failures of pressure systems that may cause a death

  • contact of plant or equipment with overhead electric lines when electrical discharge is caused or contact is with an electric line that is uninsulated and which exceeds 200 volts

  • significant explosive or fire-inducing incidents, especially those which are electrically caused

  • release or escape of hazardous substances, biological agents or flammable substances

  • significant malfunction of radiation equipment, breathing apparatus, or diving equipment

  • structural collapses associated with maintenance or construction work (eg scaffolding)

  • incidents involving onshore and offshore wells and pipelines

In addition to the above, there are extra specific reportable incidents identified for mines, quarries, transport systems, and offshore workplaces. For more information on incidents in general and in specific workplaces, read the HSE guidance on dangerous occurrences

Employers which form any part of a gas supply chain (ie distributors, importers, fillers, and suppliers) are required to report on incidents that include death, loss of consciousness, or hospital treatment

This must be reported via the specific flammable gas incident online form found on the HSE website.

Gas Safe registered engineers must also report the details of any elements of commercial or domestic gas appliances that could cause death or loss of consciousness or result in hospital treatment. For example, where an appliance might accidentally leak gas into a populated vicinity.

Where these appliances or fittings are unsafe, they must be identified to HSE via the dangerous gas fitting online form.

Exceptions

Under RIDDOR, certain circumstances are not required to be reported to HSE. These exemptions are:

  • accidents involving:

    • dental or medical treatment supervised by a doctor

    • a motor vehicle on a public road, or

    • armed forces on duty

  • where there are duplicate reporting requirements under other statutes and regulations, including The Electricity Safety, Quality and Continuity Regulations 2002 and civilian aviation regulations.

Who, how, and when to make a RIDDOR report

Who should make a RIDDOR report?

Reports should be submitted by a responsible person. RIDDOR defines this responsible person as:

  • an employer

  • a self-employed person

  • someone in control of the work premises where the incident occurred

  • an employment agency, and/or

  • a gas supplier or engineer

In cases involving mines, quarries, pipelines, wells and offshore work, the type of specific incident will determine the relevant reporter. Employers should check for further guidance in this scenario.

Members of the public and injured persons should not report under RIDDOR.

How should a RIDDOR report be made?

The responsible person should complete the relevant online form on the HSE website. The website has appropriate forms for injuries, diseases, dangerous occurrences and gas-related incidents.

When should a RIDDOR report be made?

For most types of incident, the responsible person should have submitted the report within 10 days of the incident.

For incidents involving incapacitation of a worker for over 7 consecutive days, the report must be submitted within 15 days of the incident. For incidents where incapacitation of over 7 consecutive days occurs later on (ie not immediately following the actual incident), the 7-day period prior to reporting starts on the day of incapacitation.

Recording duties under RIDDOR

Separate to external RIDDOR reports, employers must keep internal records of: 

  • any reportable incident (ie any incident that RIDDOR requires the employer to report) and resulting effects (ie the injury, disease, or condition)

  • any incident and resulting effects causing incapacitation of at least 3 consecutive days, and

  • any incident and resulting effects that go on to cause incapacitation of over 7 days

After any reports are made, employers should keep a copy of the online form for their internal records. If they do not, they should at least keep a note of the:

  • date and method of reporting

  • time and place of the incident

  • personal details of the involved parties, and

  • a description of the incident and resulting effect

Employers who are required to keep an accident book under social security law may use this as their record keeping method for injuries, but will need another method for diseases and conditions.


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